Malaysians are no longer passive and they monitor and judge every move made by civil servants, said Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
He told senior civil servants attending the 16th Civil Servants' Conference at the National Institute of Public Administration or INTAN last Thursday (Oct 20) that "people want a better quality of life. They want the government to provide them with better infrastructure, education, health and to guarantee them long-term peace."
Muhyiddin's advice should also be directed to the executive and the wakil rakyat or members of Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies.
When talking about the rakyat or citizens, you are referring at the root, that is the electorate. They select or elect the legislature and charging it with the duty of making laws in accordance with their wishes, at least that should be the case.
The Cabinet, that is the Executive, draw up policies for the government. Administering the policies, the actual work of putting them into effect, is the task of the Civil Service. Ideally, the Civil Service must be responsible to Parliament.
Under the British system adopted by Malaysia, the role of the Civil Service is to be a non-party element in party government; to give loyal service and support to the Government of the day, irrespective of that Government's political colour. The higher Civil Servant is free from political interference and unlike his Minister, he cannot be removed from office at the will of the electorate and must refrain from political interference himself. He must, in fact, take no part in political activity.
Civil Servants are the servants of the public, not its masters. The Civil Servant is expected, in his dealings with the people, whether personally or by letter, to show friendliness and strive for understanding.
As Muhyiddin stressed, the government wanted civil servants to be the message of hope to the people. He advised them to hear out people's complaints and find ways to solve them immediately.
The Civil Servant must refrain from personal political activity. He must faithfully carry out the policies of his political chief, whether he agrees with them or not. He must never use his official position to further his own interests. However high he may rise in the Service, his attitude to the public must always be that of a servant, never that of a master.